It's not too early to do a little spring cleaning and sprucing up around the office. Start with your gadgets. Out with the old, in with the new! Here are seven easy things to upgrade.
1. Spice up your meeting space.
I wrote recently about how the telepresence suite of yesteryear is going away. But that doesn't mean you should stick with a low-tech meeting space. Consider installing a large-screen display on the wall, like the Samsung ES9000. This 75-inch HDTV lets you wave a hand or use your voice to control the display, and has a built-in camera so you can Skype with the remote office.
2. Get people talking.
Speaking of meetings, you probably already use the webcam that came with your laptop. The quality might be okay, but those cameras lack flexibility: If you move your laptop, the camera moves with it--which is not always ideal. I like the HP HD-5210 because it can clip to anything near you desk and captures in 1080p high-def.
3. Get quality paper for your printer.
This might seem trivial, and even a little expensive. But you'd be surprised how paper makes a difference. The bargain paper packs--you know, those thin and flimsy sheets from Walmart--are prone to sticking in printers. Consider spending a little more for a slightly thicker stock. Your print-outs will look more professional, and your employees will appreciate the bump up in quality if it means not having to dismantle the printer again to find the one stuck sheet. One site I found is The Paper Mill Store, which sells a thicker printer stock in multiple colors.
4. Change your lightbulbs.
Make it an annual practice to replace some of your older lightbulbs. Sure, they may be working fine, but they're probably sucking up more energy and casting only a faint glow. Philips has new LED bulbs as part of the Hue package, which lets you control the lights with your iPhone or Android. Brighter bulbs can make a space look more cheerful. And LED bulbs consume less energy and last much longer, yet emit a warmer glow.
5. Ditch your old coffeemaker.
It may be fulfilling its function, but it's probably not serving good coffee. When I met with several start-ups in San Francisco recently, I kept track of which coffeemaker they had in their break room. (Keurig, you are dominating.) But, I also spotted a few Jura models, my all-time favorite brand. They're expensive, but you'll end up spending less when you grind your own coffee. Plus, they don't use throw-away cups. The Jura ENA Micro 9 One Touch can make coffee, espresso, and specialty drinks.
6. Get new keyboards.
Take a quick spin around your office right now. Go ahead, I'll wait. Did you see crusty old keyboards everywhere? Employees hate those but they will keep using whatever is available. For an upgrade, consider the new Logitech Bluetooth Illuminated Keyboard K810. This model is smaller but has raised chiclet keys for fast typing. There's a button to switch between your laptop, iPhone, and iPad.
7. Stand up for ergonomics.
A friend of mine who works at a local power utility says her company invested in stand-up desks a few years ago. And for good reason--sitting all day is terrible for you. Focal makes stand-up models that look cool in any cubicle.